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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

March 31, 2015 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would like to give an overview of the Cabinet meeting. The meeting approved nine general and other measures, draft bills, cabinet orders, and personnel decisions. With regard to statements by ministers, Minister Yamatani made a statement concerning changes to the Tokyo Inland Earthquake Countermeasures Basic Plan. I made a statement concerning the Measures Taken by Japan against North Korea. The Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries made a statement concerning changes to the Basic Plan for Food, Agriculture and Rural Areas. In ministerial discussions following the Cabinet meeting, the Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications made a statement concerning the finalization of the FY2015 Administrative Evaluation Program.

Next, I have an announcement regarding the appointment of a special advisor to a minister. It has been decided that effective today, Mr. Mineyuki Fukuda, member of the House of Representatives and the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), will be appointed as a special advisor to Minister of State for Economic and Fiscal Policy Amari. Mr. Fukuda serves in various LDP positions, such as the Secretary General of the Special Mission Committee on IT Strategy and the Chairman of the Subcommittee for Promotion of the Use and Application of My Number. As such Mr. Fukuda has broad insight and experience regarding the “My Number” social security and tax number system, and will therefore be in charge of important policies related to this system.

I would like to elaborate on Japan’s measures for North Korea. Japan bans North Korean-registered ships from entering Japanese ports, and bans exports and imports with North Korea. As these measures are set to expire on April 13, during today’s Cabinet meeting, we took the necessary procedures to extend these measures by two years, including the exemption that authorizes ships to enter Japanese ports under special circumstances from a humanitarian standpoint. The extension of these measures was decided based on a comprehensive assessment of the circumstances surrounding North Korea. The measures will be steadily implemented through close coordination among the relevant ministries and agencies. Japan’s measures for North Korea will be constantly reviewed based on whether or not North Korea takes concrete actions towards the comprehensive resolution of various issues of outstanding concern, including abduction, nuclear, and missile issues. The Government will continue to strongly urge North Korea to swiftly conduct the investigation and report the results promptly. The Government is committed to realizing the return to Japan of all victims of abduction, while adhering to the principles of “dialogue and pressure” and “action for action.”


REPORTER: My question is in connection with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). Today, the 31st, is the deadline that the Chinese Government established for becoming founding members of the AIIB. Can you once again explain the Japanese Government’s current view and future outlook?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government’s position is as I have previously stated. It has not changed at all. We deem that careful reviews are needed, including reviews on whether or not fair governance can be ensured and whether other creditors will not incur losses through the provision of loans which ignore debt sustainability. The Government has raised these matters with China repeatedly but has not received a clear explanation. In any case, the Government will continue to work with relevant countries in approaching China, without becoming preoccupied with a specific deadline.   


REPORTER: I have a question regarding the extension of the sanctions. In your opening statement, you explained the decision to extend the sanctions. Was this decision made in order to urge North Korea to resolve the abduction issue quickly, taking into account the current situation, whereby North Korea has delayed its submission of the first report?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The negotiations are very much ongoing. Under these circumstances, Japan has made it clear that we would engage in negotiations based on the basic policy of “dialogue and pressure” and “action for action.” The announcement was made in line with this policy.


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